Falling Upwards: How We Took to the Air

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9780007386925: Falling Upwards: How We Took to the Air

Falling Upwards tells the story of the enigmatic group of men and women who first risked their lives to take to the air, and so discovered a new dimension of human experience. Why they did it, what their contemporaries thought of them, and how their flights revealed the secrets of our planet in wholly unexpected ways is its subject.

In this heart-lifting book, the Romantic biographer Richard Holmes floats across the world following the pioneer generation of balloon aeronauts, from the first heroic experiments of the Montgolfiers in 1780s to the tragic attempt to fly a balloon to the North Pole in the 1890s. It is a compelling adventure story of the kind that only Holmes could tell.

Dramatic sequences move from the early Anglo-French balloon rivalries, the crazy firework flights of beautiful Sophie Blanchard; the revelatory ascents over the great Victorian cities and sprawling industrial towns of Northern Europe; and the astonishing long-distance voyages of the American entrepreneur John Wise, and the French photographer Felix Nadar.

Later we find balloons used to observe the horrors of modern battle during the American Civil War (including a memorable flight by General Custer); the legendary tale of sixty balloons that escaped Paris during the Prussian siege of 1870; and the terrifying high-altitude flights of James Glaisher FRS who rose above seven miles without oxygen, helping to establish the new science of meteorology as well as the environmental notion – so important to us today – of a ‘fragile’ planet.

Besides the aeronauts themselves, readers will also discover the many writers and dreamers – from Mary Shelley to Edgar Alan Poe, from Charles Dickens to Jules Verne – who felt the imaginative impact of flight and allowed it to soar in their work.

Through all these adventures, the narrative continually lifts off in unexpected literary and scientific directions, exploring the interplay between technology and science fiction, the understanding of the biosphere, and the metaphysics of flight itself. Most of all, through the strange allure of the great balloonists, Holmes offers another of his subtle portraits of human endeavour, recklessness and vision.

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Review:

SELECTED AS A BOOK OF THE YEAR BY:

JIM CRACE, GUARDIAN – ‘A whole wide world of significance’

SARAH SANDS, NEW STATESMAN – ‘Sheer delight’

MICHAEL PRODGER, EVENING STANDARD – ‘Picaresque history’

DAN JONES, DAILY TELEGRAPH – ‘Tremendously inventive’

LEV GROSSMAN, TIME MAGAZINE – ‘Thrilling history’

CHLOE SCHAMA, NEW REPUBLIC – ‘Unadulterated delight’

KIRKUS – ‘Gripping’

MAIL ON SUNDAY -‘Tragic’

‘A book as delightful as it is unexpected … [an] extraordinary cabinet of drifting aerial wonderment, a book that will linger and last, as it floats ever upward in the mind’ Simon Winchester, Wall Street Journal

Holmes presents a full-blown, lyrical history of the same subject, investigating the strangeness, detachment and powerful romance of ‘falling upwards’ into a seemingly alien and uninhabitable element. He lovingly charts … a history full of awe and inefficiency … A truly masterly storyteller’ Evening Standard

‘Endlessly exhilarating … packed full of swashbuckling stories, as well as fascinating historical accounts of the use of balloons. It is also a singularly beautiful book, wonderfully designed and illustrated and quite clearly a product of love’ Mail on Sunday

‘What Holmes teases out … is that ballooning gave us, quite literally, a different point of view … This exhilarating book, wonderfully written, generously illustrated and beautifully published, captures all that and more’ Spectator

‘Holmes conjures an extraordinarily vivid, violent, thrilling history, full of bizarre personalities, narrow escapes and fatal plunges. A peerless prose artist, infectiously curious’ Time Magazine

About the Author:

Richard Holmes is the author of the prize-winning and best-selling The Age of Wonder, shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize in 2009 and winner of the Royal Society Prize for Science writing. He is the author of many other prize-winning books including Shelley, Coleridge, Dr Johnson & Mr Savage, and the classic work, Footsteps. He lives in Norwich and is married to the novelist Rose Tremain.

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Holmes, Richard
Published by William Collins
ISBN 10: 0007386923 ISBN 13: 9780007386925
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Book Description William Collins. Book Condition: New. Falling Upwards tells the story of the enigmatic group of men and women who first risked their lives to take to the air, and so discovered a new dimension of human experience. Why they did it, what their contemporaries thought of them, and how their flights revealed the secrets of our planet in wholly unexpected ways is its subject. Num Pages: 416 pages, 40 col illus, 40 b/w plates. BIC Classification: WGM. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 238 x 163 x 37. Weight in Grams: 822. . 2013. Hardcover. . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # KCD0025217

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Holmes, Richard
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Book Description William Collins, 2013. Book Condition: New. Falling Upwards tells the story of the enigmatic group of men and women who first risked their lives to take to the air, and so discovered a new dimension of human experience. Why they did it, what their contemporaries thought of them, and how their flights revealed the secrets of our planet in wholly unexpected ways is its subject. Num Pages: 416 pages, 40 col illus, 40 b/w plates. BIC Classification: WGM. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 238 x 163 x 37. Weight in Grams: 822. . 2013. Hardcover. . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # KCD0025217

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Richard Holmes
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ISBN 10: 0007386923 ISBN 13: 9780007386925
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2013. Hardback. Book Condition: New. 236 x 154 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Falling Upwards tells the story of the enigmatic group of men and women who first risked their lives to take to the air, and so discovered a new dimension of human experience. Why they did it, what their contemporaries thought of them, and how their flights revealed the secrets of our planet in wholly unexpected ways is its subject. In this heart-lifting book, the Romantic biographer Richard Holmes floats across the world following the pioneer generation of balloon aeronauts, from the first heroic experiments of the Montgolfiers in 1780s to the tragic attempt to fly a balloon to the North Pole in the 1890s. It is a compelling adventure story of the kind that only Holmes could tell. Dramatic sequences move from the early Anglo-French balloon rivalries, the crazy firework flights of beautiful Sophie Blanchard; the revelatory ascents over the great Victorian cities and sprawling industrial towns of Northern Europe; and the astonishing long-distance voyages of the American entrepreneur John Wise, and the French photographer Felix Nadar. Later we find balloons used to observe the horrors of modern battle during the American Civil War (including a memorable flight by General Custer); the legendary tale of sixty balloons that escaped Paris during the Prussian siege of 1870; and the terrifying high-altitude flights of James Glaisher FRS who rose above seven miles without oxygen, helping to establish the new science of meteorology as well as the environmental notion - so important to us today - of a fragile planet. Besides the aeronauts themselves, readers will also discover the many writers and dreamers - from Mary Shelley to Edgar Alan Poe, from Charles Dickens to Jules Verne - who felt the imaginative impact of flight and allowed it to soar in their work. Through all these adventures, the narrative continually lifts off in unexpected literary and scientific directions, exploring the interplay between technology and science fiction, the understanding of the biosphere, and the metaphysics of flight itself. Most of all, through the strange allure of the great balloonists, Holmes offers another of his subtle portraits of human endeavour, recklessness and vision. Bookseller Inventory # POW9780007386925

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Richard Holmes
Published by HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom (2013)
ISBN 10: 0007386923 ISBN 13: 9780007386925
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2013. Hardback. Book Condition: New. 236 x 154 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Falling Upwards tells the story of the enigmatic group of men and women who first risked their lives to take to the air, and so discovered a new dimension of human experience. Why they did it, what their contemporaries thought of them, and how their flights revealed the secrets of our planet in wholly unexpected ways is its subject. In this heart-lifting book, the Romantic biographer Richard Holmes floats across the world following the pioneer generation of balloon aeronauts, from the first heroic experiments of the Montgolfiers in 1780s to the tragic attempt to fly a balloon to the North Pole in the 1890s. It is a compelling adventure story of the kind that only Holmes could tell. Dramatic sequences move from the early Anglo-French balloon rivalries, the crazy firework flights of beautiful Sophie Blanchard; the revelatory ascents over the great Victorian cities and sprawling industrial towns of Northern Europe; and the astonishing long-distance voyages of the American entrepreneur John Wise, and the French photographer Felix Nadar. Later we find balloons used to observe the horrors of modern battle during the American Civil War (including a memorable flight by General Custer); the legendary tale of sixty balloons that escaped Paris during the Prussian siege of 1870; and the terrifying high-altitude flights of James Glaisher FRS who rose above seven miles without oxygen, helping to establish the new science of meteorology as well as the environmental notion - so important to us today - of a fragile planet. Besides the aeronauts themselves, readers will also discover the many writers and dreamers - from Mary Shelley to Edgar Alan Poe, from Charles Dickens to Jules Verne - who felt the imaginative impact of flight and allowed it to soar in their work. Through all these adventures, the narrative continually lifts off in unexpected literary and scientific directions, exploring the interplay between technology and science fiction, the understanding of the biosphere, and the metaphysics of flight itself. Most of all, through the strange allure of the great balloonists, Holmes offers another of his subtle portraits of human endeavour, recklessness and vision. Bookseller Inventory # POW9780007386925

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Holmes, Richard
Published by William Collins, UK (2013)
ISBN 10: 0007386923 ISBN 13: 9780007386925
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Book Description William Collins, UK, 2013. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 6.4 x 1.5 x 9.4 inches. Book Description Falling Upwards tells the story of the enigmatic group of men and women who first risked their lives to take to the air, and so discovered a new dimension of human experience. Why they did it, what their contemporaries thought of them, and how their flights revealed the secrets of our planet in wholly unexpected ways is its subject. In this heart-lifting book, the Romantic biographer Richard Holmes floats across the world following the pioneer generation of balloon aeronauts, from the first heroic experiments of the Montgolfiers in 1780s to the tragic attempt to fly a balloon to the North Pole in the 1890s. It is a compelling adventure story of the kind that only Holmes could tell. Dramatic sequences move from the early Anglo-French balloon rivalries, the crazy firework flights of beautiful Sophie Blanchard; the revelatory ascents over the great Victorian cities and sprawling industrial towns of Northern Europe; and the astonishing long-distance voyages of the American entrepreneur John Wise, and the French photographer Felix Nadar. Later we find balloons used to observe the horrors of modern battle during the American Civil War (including a memorable flight by General Custer); the legendary tale of sixty balloons that escaped Paris during the Prussian siege of 1870; and the terrifying high-altitude flights of James Glaisher FRS who rose above seven miles without oxygen, helping to establish the new science of meteorology as well as the environmental notion - so important to us today - of a 'fragile' planet. Besides the aeronauts themselves, readers will also discover the many writers and dreamers - from Mary Shelley to Edgar Alan Poe, from Charles Dickens to Jules Verne - who felt the imaginative impact of flight and allowed it to soar in their work. Through all these adventures, the narrative continually lifts off in unexpected literary and scientific directions, exploring the interplay between technology and science fiction, the understanding of the biosphere, and the metaphysics of flight itself. Most of all, through the strange allure of the great balloonists, Holmes offers another of his subtle portraits of human endeavour, recklessness and vision. Editorial Reviews From Booklist Ballooning attracts romantics who believe the experience of floating is worth the risk of death and injury. In the late eighteenth and throughout the nineteenth centuries, it also drew dreamers who believed ballooning was the key to advancing transportation, scientific exploration, and military surveillance. Why bounce along in a horse-drawn coach when you could glide quickly through the air to your destination? Optimists foresaw great profits for anyone who could develop dependable balloons that could be steered to appointed cities, delivering people, goods, and messages. Ambitious scientists rose above the clouds to test the qualities of air, while brave generals floated over enemy lines to watch troop movements. In the style of his The Age of Wonder (2010), Holmes, fellow of the British Academy, recounts adventurous stories of balloon pioneers in France, Britain, and the U.S., who built and tested airships, gloriously setting records for speed, distance, and height, sometimes at the cost of their own lives. Filled with period drawings and early photographs, this entertaining history will be popular with history readers. --Rick Roche --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition. Review SELECTED AS A BOOK OF THE YEAR BY: JIM CRACE, GUARDIAN - 'A whole wide world of significance' SARAH SANDS, NEW STATESMAN - 'Sheer delight' MICHAEL PRODGER, EVENING STANDARD - 'Picaresque history' DAN JONES, DAILY TELEGRAPH - 'Tremendously inventive' LEV GROSSMAN, TIME MAGAZINE - 'Thrilling history' CHLOE SCHAMA, NEW REPUBLIC - 'Unadulterated delight' KIRKUS - 'Gripping' MAIL ON SUNDAY -'Tragic' 'A book as delightful as it is unexpected . [an] extraordinary cabinet of drifting aerial wonderment, a book that will linger and last, Bookseller Inventory # 51720

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Book Description 2013. Book Condition: New. 165mm x 242mm x 45mm. Falling Upwards tells the story of the enigmatic group of men and women who first risked their lives to take to the air, and so discovered a new dimension of human experience. Why they did it, what t.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 320 pages. 0.839. Bookseller Inventory # 9780007386925

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Book Description William Collins, London, 2013. Hardcover, illus. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First English Edition; First Printing. No notes, names or ANY markings. DJ notprice clipped (£25) ; 404 pages; Ships in a box, USA. Bookseller Inventory # 56284

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Holmes, Richard
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Book Description William Collins, 2013. Hardcover, illus. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st UK edition; First Printing. Book and DJ New. NO notes or ANY markings. New DJ not price clipped (£25) ; Ships in a box, USA; 404 pages. Bookseller Inventory # 58076

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Book Description William Collins, London, United Kingdom, 2013. Hard Cover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: Good. First Edition. 404 pages, contents and index pages. Black and White and Colour illustrations throughout. In this heart-lifting book, the Romantic biographer Richard Holmes floats across the world following the pioneer generation of balloon aeronauts, from the first heroic experiments of the Montgolfiers in 1780s to the tragic attempt to fly a balloon to the North Pole in the 1890s. It is a compelling adventure story of the kind that only Holmes could tell. Dramatic sequences move from the early Anglo-French balloon rivalries, the crazy firework flights of beautiful Sophie Blanchard; the revelatory ascents over the great Victorian cities and sprawling industrial towns of Northern Europe; and the astonishing long-distance voyages of the American entrepreneur John Wise, and the French photographer Felix Nadar. Later we find balloons used to observe the horrors of modern battle during the American Civil War (including a memorable flight by General Custer); the legendary tale of sixty balloons that escaped Paris during the Prussian siege of 1870; and the terrifying high-altitude flights of James Glaisher FRS who rose above seven miles without oxygen, helping to establish the new science of meteorology as well as the environmental notion so important to us today of a ‘fragile’ planet. Besides the aeronauts themselves, readers will also discover the many writers and dreamers from Mary Shelley to Edgar Alan Poe, from Charles Dickens to Jules Verne who felt the imaginative impact of flight and allowed it to soar in their work. Through all these adventures, the narrative continually lifts off in unexpected literary and scientific directions, exploring the interplay between technology and science fiction, the understanding of the biosphere, and the metaphysics of flight itself. Most of all, through the strange allure of the great balloonists, Holmes offers another of his subtle portraits of human endeavour, recklessness and vision. Slight tear (repaired) to bottom of dj due shelf wear. Bookseller Inventory # 340885

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